French lawmakers lose perks in austerity drive

France, facing a €30 billion gap in public finances, announced its latest austerity move Tuesday with the parliamentary budget frozen for five years and lawmakers' expenses cut by 10%.

French lawmakers lose perks in austerity drive
Photo: Chris Waits

National Assembly president Claude Bartolone from President Francois Hollande's Socialist party said he wanted a parliament that was "more exemplary, more open and more useful" as he announced the budget freeze.

"For the duration of the presidency, I am outlining the principle of 'not a euro more' for the National Assembly's budget," he told reporters.

Hollande, who took power in May, warned French citizens they would have to make the biggest budget sacrifices in a generation, with €30 billion ($38 billion) in savings needed to meet France's obligation to reduce the public deficit to the EU limit of three percent of GDP next year.

The new government has already cut the salaries of the president, prime ministers and ministers by 30%.

Bartolone said first-class train travel for lawmakers was now a thing of the past as well as business-class travel for flights under five hours.

He also said the legislature's car fleet would now include hybrids and electric cars.

French lawmakers get €6,412 a month for expenses in addition to a net salary of €5,189.

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Paris, Berlin agree on future eurozone budget: French ministry source

France and Germany have agreed on the broad outlines of a proposed eurozone budget which they will present to EU finance ministers in Brussels on Monday, a French finance ministry source said.

Paris, Berlin agree on future eurozone budget: French ministry source
French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire (R) and German Finance Minister and Vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz. File photo: AFP

The common single-currency budget was one of French President Emmanuel Macron's key ideas for protecting the euro, but it caused differences between France and Germany, the region's two largest economies.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Germany's minister, Olaf Scholz, will “jointly present a proposition on Monday… about the layout for a budget for the eurozone,” the ministry source told AFP.

“It's a major step forward,” the source said. “We will look forward to sharing with other members.”

The source said the amount of the budget has not been established as the proposal was to first set out the “architecture and main principles” of the budget.

According to a copy of the French-German proposal, the budget would be part of the EU budget structure and governed by the 19 euro members.

Macron will travel to Berlin at the weekend to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel where the two leaders will bolster their alliance as champions of a united Europe.

READ ALSO: France and Germany push for compromise on eurozone reform